Senseless and protracted
Under Article 36 of the Family Code, a marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage may be declared void from the beginning even if such incapacity becomes manifests only after its solemnization. And one of the essential marital obligations under the Family Code is to procreate children which can be achieved only by having sex between husband and wife. Hence, can the senseless and protracted refusal of a husband to have sex with his wife be considered as psychological incapacity? This is the issue resolved in this case of Richard and Jessica.
Richard is a young Chinese businessman who would like to settle here in the Philippines. And he believed that the easiest and most expeditious way to do so is to get married to a Filipina. Fortunately, he met Jessica, a young Filipina who was then already of marrying age and so eager to get married. Thus, after a whirlwind courtship, Richard and Jessica got married at a Cathedral with a grand reception at a prestigious Villa.
Thereafter, they proceeded to the house of Jessica’s mother where they slept on the same bed, in the same room for the first night of their married life. However, contrary to Jessica’s expectation that they would be making love as a newly wedded couple, Richard just slept on one side of the bed and did not have sexual intercourse with her. The same thing happened on the second, third and fourth nights.
Then in an effort to have their honeymoon in a private place where they can enjoy being alone together during their first week as husband and wife, they went to Baguio City. But Richard invited Jessica’s mother, his mother and an uncle and nephew and stayed in the City for four days. And during this period, there was no sexual intercourse between them because Richard avoided Jessica by taking long walks during siesta time or by just sleeping on a rocking chair in the living room.
And for the next ten months, there was no attempt on the part of Richard to have sexual intercourse with Jessica although they slept together in the same room and on the same bed. Jessica did not even see her husband’s private parts nor did he see hers. So they submitted themselves to medical examinations by a urologist who found Jessica to be healthy, normal and still a virgin. The results of Richard’s physical examinations and prescribed medicines were however kept confidential. The doctor asked Richard to return but he never did.
And so the distraught Jessica already filed a petition for declaration of nullity of their marriage on the ground of Richard’s psychological incapacity to perform his marital obligations. Jessica claimed that Richard is impotent, a closet homosexual as he did not show his private parts, and sometimes used an eyebrow pencil and the cleansing cream of his mother. She also claimed that Richard married her just to acquire and maintain his residency here, and to make it appear that he is a normal man.
Richard opposed this petition and claimed that if their marriage should be annulled, the fault lies with Jessica. But he averred that he does not really want his marriage with Jessica annulled because he loves her; that he has no defect and is physically and psychologically capable. And since their relationship is still young, any differences between them can still be reconciled. Furthermore he contended that if either one of them has some incapacities there is no certainty that it cannot be cured as there are medical and scientific technologies already available.
Richard also claimed that the lack of sexual contact between them for almost ten months until their separation is due to the fault of Jessica who always avoided him when he wants to have sexual intercourse with her. He also alleged that he forced Jessica to have sex with him only once but did not continue because she was shaking and did not like it. He also submitted the physical examination report of a physician stating that there is no evidence of his impotency.
But the RTC granted Jessica’s petition and declared her marriage to Richard, void from the beginning because of Richard’s psychological incapacity. This decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals but Richard still went to the Supreme Court claiming that Jessica was not able to prove his psychological incapacity.
The SC however denied his petition. The court said that Richard himself admitted he did not have sexual relations with his wife for almost ten months of cohabitation despite the fact that he is not suffering from any physical disability. Such abnormal reluctance or unwillingness to consummate his marriage is strongly indicative of a serious personality disorder which demonstrates an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage within the contemplation of Article 36 of the FC. This senseless and protracted refusal to have sexual contact is equivalent to psychological incapacity. Richard’s plea that it was Jessica who did not want to have carnal knowledge with him does not inspire belief. At any rate, it is immaterial who refuses to have sex with the other. What is important is the lack of sexual intercourse between them for almost ten months which shows that either of them is psychologically incapacitated. So their marriage is really void (Chi Ming Tsoi vs. Court of Appeals etc, G.R. 119190, January 16, 1997).